False reality

The internet is created of symbols; symbols often seem more real than reality itself because symbols are more digestible by our minds.

This however creates a wetware security hole: people can re-program our symbols by inserting false data. This is a form of fraud which is very subtle and often missed.

Trust in information on the web is being damaged by the huge numbers of people paid by companies to post comments online, say researchers.

Fake posters can “poison” debate and make people unsure about who they can trust, the study suggests.

Some firms have created tens of thousands of fake accounts to flood chat forums and skew debate.

The researchers say there are reliable ways to spot fakes and urge websites to do more to police users. – BBC

When the entry barriers are few, people will relentlessly game a system. In fact, if you don’t stop them from gaming it, they will almost always attempt it.

Although most of the hacking community is so befuddled they consider Wikipedia a “valid source,” it’s worth mentioning that this dictionary is one of the biggest targets because so many people consider it definitive. If you have a chance to change the official record, wouldn’t you? They do, in droves, every day.

For years our media and educators have treated the internet like a research resource. It’s not. It’s a graffiti wall. Let’s all grow up and move on.

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